Mulan

G

Disney animated features are very rarely bad. The only one I can think of that I didn’t enjoy was Oliver and Comany, from 1988. Other than that, all have been great, from The Lion King, one of the best movies of the decade, to Hercules a zippy, entertaining feature. The past few years, Disney has been challenged by Fox and Warner Bros., in t he form of Anastasia and Quest for Camelot. Both films failed. Other studios juist don’t seem to have the magic of the Mouse.

Mulan, Disney’s latest offering is in between the seriousness of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and facetiousness of Aladdin. There are moments where Mulan seems like a dark war movie — with a villain that lurks ominously in the background, free of a comical henchman to lighten the atmosphere. On the other hand, there is Mushu the dragon sent to protect Mulan, and he, voiced by Eddie Murphy provides endless comic relief.

Mulan herself is a girl who decided to protect her aging father by preventing him from serving in the army. She impersonates a man to enter the army and help defeat the Huns, who are attacking China.

What makes Mulan different from other cartoon features is the aforementioned villain difference. Also, themusical numbers are few and far between, there is much less singing than usual. The feminist undercurrent is also present, as Mulan promotes female empowerment.

If comparing Mulan to the recent Disney hits, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, I’d rank it 5th. That’s praise.

Disney has accomplished so much over the years that I can’t help but wonder how they do it. All of their films are inspired, funny, gorgeous and hugely enjoyable. With next year’s Tarzan, the trend should continue.

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log

Snitch

Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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